On Thursday, he started floating a new birther lie about Sen. Kamala Harris, who, if elected, would be the first Black and Asian American vice president.
Trump’s incendiary nonsense about Harris was part of a Thursday self-described “news conference” he largely used to campaign against his Democratic election opponents. Trump also made a series of false claims about former Vice President Joe Biden, Democrats more broadly, and, again, about mail-in voting.
Trump was told about claims on “social media” that Harris might be ineligible to serve as president and vice president. He was then asked if he can definitively say that she meets the requirements.
Trump said, “I heard today that she doesn’t meet the requirements.” He referred to a lawyer who raised the issue in a Newsweek article, Chapman University professor John Eastman, as “very highly qualified.”
Trump then said he has “no idea” whether it’s true Harris doesn’t meet the requirements. He then asked the reporter if she was saying Harris doesn’t qualify because Harris “wasn’t born in this country.”
Facts First: Harris was born in Oakland, California. Therefore, as a natural born citizen, she meets the Constitution’s requirements to serve as vice president or president. There is no serious question about this.
Trump spent the beginning of his news conference lambasting Biden. Here’s a look at the facts around some of those attacks.
Biden and pandemic plans
Trump claimed that he has already done everything Biden has called on him to do in responding to the pandemic.
“In fact, many of the things — it was well reported over the last few days — every single thing he said to do, every single thing, we did, and we did ’em well.”
Facts First: It’s not true that Trump has done every single thing Biden has called for. While there is certainly some overlap in Biden’s proposals and Trump’s actions, Biden has made a number of proposals Trump has not implemented.
Biden has also called on Trump to provide complete information on the state of testing around the country, “including the number of tests completed, the results, and the average wait time for results.” The federal government does not provide this information on a systematic basis.
Biden and a mask mandate
Trump said that Biden wanted to impose a federal mandate to force people to wear masks, questioning the authority of a president to do so.
“He wants the president of the United States, with the mere stroke of a pen,” Trump said of Biden, “to order over 300 million American citizens to wear a mask for a minimum of three straight months.”
“I guess this just happened, he thinks it’s good politics I guess,” Trump continued.
In a speech on the coronavirus Thursday, Biden argued that “every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing.”
“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at minimum,” Biden also said. “It’s not about your rights, it’s about your responsibilities as an American.”
Biden was asked again if he would “in effect mandate the wearing of masks,” he replied, “I would do everything [possible] to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.”
Biden, immigration and the pandemic
Trump claimed that Biden’s immigration policy, which Trump described as “ridiculous open borders,” would be “allowing the pandemic to infiltrate every US community.”
Biden and the press
The President, who has taken questions from the press every evening this week, criticized Biden for allegedly doing the opposite.
“He refuses to take questions. He never takes questions,” Trump said. “I take questions, he never takes questions. And you sort of wonder what’s going on because they are not that difficult. Some can be nasty, but they are not that difficult.”
Biden and schools
Trump also accused Biden of wanting to close schools and “grind society to a halt” through a federal decree.
About Biden, Trump said, “he wants to shut down our economy, close our schools and grind society to a halt. And he wants it done by a federal decree.”
Trump continued kicking around voting-related conspiracies.
Democrats, schools and the election
Trump claimed that Democrats are trying to “keep people away from the polls” by keeping schools closed.
“Some people say they don’t want — the Democrats don’t want — schools open because that’s where you have a lot of polling booths, and if you have a school closed you can’t very easily have polling booths at the school,” he said.
He concluded: “Maybe we’ll be able to show that as fact.”
Facts First: This is a conspiracy theory for which there is simply no evidence. (With his “maybe” line, Trump seemed to implicitly suggest that he is not currently able to prove it.)
Mail-in ballot origins
The President claimed that post offices are receiving millions of ballots and “nobody knows from where.”
Trump also repeated a number of falsehoods he has made before, including claims that:
- All children handle coronavirus really well. (Some children have died from coronavirus or come down with a strange and severe associated illness, but overall children are less likely to develop severe symptoms than adults.)
- Absentee voting is good while universal mail-in voting is very bad. (While there can be some differences in the methods used to implement the two, experts say that they are largely the same and are both secure ways of voting.)
- There were fraudulent ballots in the New York Democratic primary won by Rep. Carolyn Maloney. (There is no evidence of fraud in this race, though there was a legal dispute about other ballot issues, like missing signatures and late postmarks.)
- Foreign countries can easily forge mail-in ballots. (Experts say this is simply not true because of various ballot security measures. Further, each state has its own system and each district has a unique set of candidates.)